Buyer John Pye, 68, thinks the photos could have come from a house clearance in the city.
The Newcastle-under-Lyme resident said: “The items led me to believe that the original owner was possibly the Preston-based artist Edwin Robert Beattie and possibly had connections to children’s author Lewis Carroll.
“Several photographs are included in the find which show an extremely dapper gent in a straw boater accompanied by a lady, who is possibly his wife.
“Another photograph shows a young girl and a baby and this bears the imprinted mark of Preston photographer Arthur Winter.
“I am keen to establish the identity of the people in the photos.”
John, a retired copper who found the pictures at a car boot sale in Stoke-on-Trent, is hoping that the images might spark a memory in the minds of some people in Preston.
He also says he thinks some pictures in the haul look like Lewis Carroll.
“The only real strong connection is the picture of Humpty Dumpty but then when I looked at the photos I thought there was a resemblance to him.
“It’s a loose connection but if you bring up the two faces there’s a striking resemblance in them to Carroll.
“I find these things and the former detective in me can’t resist looking into it.”
The character Humpty Dumpty appeared in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, in which he was described as an egg.
John Pye can be contacted on his email at [email protected]